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Students Ask for Cafeteria Changes, Stymied by Regulations

Students and teachers unhappy about district changes a few years ago.

This excerpt comes from the Drake High School paper, The Jolly Roger's, March 10 edition. We'll regularly feature articles, excerpts, and reviews from the Jolly Roger and our Drake students. Read the rest of this article or more articles at drakejr.com.

BY ANDREW VARGAS DELMAN

A student sits cross-legged at the end of the second corridor during lunch with a brown cardboard box. Inside are a hamburger, a small package of baby carrots, and a carton of milk. He lifts the bun, removes the lettuce with his thumb and index finger, and leaps to his feet in frustration. Discouraged, he complains about the quality of the vegetable as he examines it between his two fingers.

“What is this?” the student asks. “When are they going to give us the leaf of the lettuce?”

Simple, informal complaints like the one expressed by the anonymous second corridor student prompted seniors Camila Flowerman and McCoy Tamler to determine what students and faculty think of the food served in the Canteen.

“My friends and I have been having random conversations about the food at the cafeteria for years now and we were wondering whether or not [others agreed],” Tamler said. “We wanted to know what the school thought about it.”

The seniors drafted a survey about the quality of food served on campus, including questions on nutrition and taste. After having AP Statistics teacher Jennifer Noland and SEA-DISC teacher Steve Bluestone approve the questions, Flowerman and Tamler sent their survey to each advisory, polling a total of 808 students.

“The results told us overwhelmingly that there is a problem, something that needs to be looked at, or something that at least needs to be discussed. There’s no question,” Tamler said.

Although Tamler said that he originally had no intention of “spearhead[ing] a movement,” he and Flowerman quickly became responsible for presenting their results and representing the voice of students.

Tamler and Flowerman compiled their results for Assistant Principal Katy Foster, who organized a meeting with Director of Student Nutrition Services, Margan Holloway.

Holloway assumed her position as Director in 2009, when the district wasn’t in compliance with meal pattern requirements and laws SB12 and SB965, which outline the nutritional guidelines regarding the sale of food outside the California Department of Education meal program.

In order to meet nutritional guidelines, Holloway was forced to eliminate some options from the a la carte room, which primarily sells snacks and beverages. She also created school menus, a requirement that she said was also previously unfulfilled.

The changes that took place from 2008 to 2009 are what most of the staff and seniors have informally referred to when describing a decline in the quality of food served in the cafeteria.

This is only an excerpt of an article that goes on to examine the regulatory obstacles to getting more local, organic food in the cafeteria. Read the rest of the story here at the Jolly Roger site.

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